Air Drop Relief Aid, Direct Flight to Tigray to Provide Humanitarian Aid Not Permitted: NDRMC

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Addis Ababa July 14/2021 (ENA) The National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) announced that activities to deliver humanitarian assistance to Tigray Region through direct flight or any other means that violates the sovereignty of the country is not permitted.

The commission said 47 trucks carrying humanitarian aid will be transported to the region from Semera to Mekelle tomorrow.

National Disaster Risk Management Commissioner, Mitiku Kassa told ENA that the government has facilitated the proper transport of food and non-food aid provided through the World Food Program and other international aid agencies.

Accordingly, 47 heavy trucks will be transported from Semera, the capital of Afar Regional State, to Mekelle tomorrow. Of these, 22 trucks carry 7,649 quintals of food, while the remaining vehicles transport 7,300 quintals of non-food items.

In addition, 10,359 quintals of improved seeds will be transported in 12 heavy vehicles to expedite agricultural activities in line with unilateral ceasefire declared by the government to enable farmers cultivate their land, the commissioner added.

The government has been facilitating conditions for timely delivery of aid by international aid agencies, Mitiku said, adding that the World Food Program (WFP) and other international organizations are requesting air drop relief aid and direct flight access to Mekelle from airports outside the country. 

The idea of ​​direct flights and dropping aid from planes is unacceptable, he underscored.. 

Mitiku recalled that the commission allowed to transport the pertinent staff of United Nations  humanitarian agencies from Addis Ababa to Mekelle, but no permission was issued for special or direct flights under any circumstances.

Violating the sovereignty of the country by air transport is not allowed, the commissioner stressed, adding that 70 percent of the humanitarian aid to the region has been covered by the government with only 30 percent covered by donor partners. 

NDRMC has stored 400,000 quintals of food grain and nutritious food at Mekelle in order to provide timely humanitarian assistance, it was learned.

The Ministry of Agriculture also announced that it had transported 617,000 quintals of fertilizer before the declaration of the unilateral ceasefire. 

It is also stated that conditions have been facilitated for the international community to  deliver humanitarian aid in accordance with the direction set by the country.